City Receives National Recreation and Parks Grant to Improve Summer Camp, After School Programs

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Receives National Recreation and Parks Grant to Improve Summer Camp, After School Programs

Posted: 07/02/2014
July 2, 2014 - The National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), has awarded City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation a $25,000 grant to support its recreation center Summer Playground Program and After School Program.

The gift is part of a $2.3 million grant NRPA received from the Walmart Foundation to support out-of-school time programs in 50 park and recreation agencies as part of the NRPA's effort in the national Let's Move! initiative. Let's Move! is an effort led by First Lady Michelle Obama to "raise a healthier generation of kids."

The City of Knoxville will use the grant to enhance a partnership program with the Knox County Health Department and Community Action Committee (CAC), known as N.E.A.T. (Nutrition Education Activity Training). The N.E.A.T. Program teaches and promotes healthy eating and physical activity to elementary-aged students through the incorporation of a healthy snack and physically active games..

"We're eager to use this grant to increase healthy eating habits and physical fitness among Knoxville youth," said Joe Walsh, Knoxville Parks and Recreation Director. "The Knox County Health Department and CAC have been long-time partners in our local efforts on this subject, and it's nice to receive assistance at the national level from the NRPA to improve our program."

Walsh says the grant will be used to purchase larger, more efficient refrigerators for all 12 recreation centers so that more daily snacks and meals can be provided to youth in the programs. (In 2013, nearly 70,000 healthy snacks and meals were provided to youth in the center's Summer Playground and After School programs.)

Knoxville will also use the grant to purchase transportation coolers and kitchen equipment such as canning sets, as well as to fund a part-time position to assist with implementation of the nutrition and fitness education curriculum associated with the grant, called OrganWise Guys.

This grant supports NRPA's new campaign - Commit to Health - which encourages the implementation and evaluation of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in park and recreation sites across the country. NRPA's goal is to have at least 2,000 participating sites in five years.

"This generous grant from the Walmart Foundation will allow park and recreation agencies to expand the critical work they do to improve quality of life and foster life-long healthy habits among the youth in their communities," said Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NRPA.

Knoxville's Summer Playground Program is currently ongoing at 12 recreation centers throughout the city. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 may participate for a one-time fee of $20. The remainder of the camp will be offered July 7-25, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The City's free After School Program is offered during the school year from 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. at the same 12 recreation centers.